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I seem to be feeling talkative tonight, and another idea just wandered into my mind.

One of the things torsparkles and I often do together is wander through the charity bookshops along Nicholson St in Edinburgh. We've talked a fair bit about why we buy books from them, and also in some cases why not also.

To me, a book is a book is a book. A lot of my old paperbacks are battered, dogeared and tired from having bounced around in my bag whilst I was at college. Another thing I do with my (and only my) book is take them in the bath with me. Steam causes a few deteriations... This to me though merely personalises a volume as my copy. Books are personal to me :) I'll lend my copies out, but I'd rather buy someone another copy than give one of mine away.

So a charity bookshop. To me an ideal place to buy books - this is a place where people have cared enough about a book to not just throw it away, but instead given it to a place where someone else might enjoy it, and a worthy cause benefits. I get to feel good about buying something I want. There isn't really a downside, is there?

Now the question I have to ask, is should I as a consumer have any say in the prices a charity bookshop may charge?

I have a good idea of where and why my ideology lies, but before I waffle further, does anybody else have any views on new / secondhand / charity / retail books, or even (say it isn't so!) ways you might pass your books on to others?
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The Rise of Endymion.

Well I finished the quartet which is fairly good going for me these days. Though I have to confess a little disappointment in the final wrapping up. It was all a bit biblical, and also the whole travelling to a planet to confront your idealogical nemesis was done far, far better by Julian May where the whole narrative leads upto the climactic moment in the final book, then loops around again to the start. The series raised some very interesting ideas both in terms of technology and ethics, but at the end of the day we all know the story in the bible. Also by the time you get to the end, the Shrike is no longer the implacable machine of earlier volumes, it ends up a kind of anti-hero sidelined in the plot. I also have to beg the question of why after protecting the heroine through most of two volumes, it stands idly by whilst she martyrs herself... Sadly I'd have to say read the first two and leave it at that because that way you get a cracking SF story with a truly scary monster, that ties up its loose ends elegantly enough without the addition of the final two volumes.


This seemed to be a departure for Mr Pratchett. I'll say up front I liked it - Sam Vimes is one of my favorite characters and the police/fantasy theme fits me well. Nevertheless this one has moved far away from the gently parodying of Anne MacCaffrey and Fritz Lieber. It confronts the theme of racial tensions head-on without the stigmata of touching on any real-world group, in a sane, sensible and controlled way, and ultimately shows that the widely heard views of a few zealots are emphatically not the views of most of the world. Being fantasy, for once this kind of theme can have a happy ending, not the all-singing-world-is-fine type of thing you might expect, but a positive start to talking about how to live together with other races.

I'll get people arguing, but I'd say Mr Pratchett is well and truly back on form with four good books in a row now. Even if the next one (Everyone I know whose read it says Wintersmith is good too though :) is mediocre, I'm more than prepared to forgive the odd not quite dead-centre volume given the literary nonsense those such as Patricia Cornwell pump out these days.

Next out of the box on top (TM) is Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson. I'm sort of reluctant to read it, as I probably don't have the concentration to fully appreciate the kind of thing I read in Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates. But I can always go back and read it again in the future.

Beyond this, I should really go and find torsparkles box of books and read some of those so I can give them back to her. Other than that, I want to try to get hold of 'Vulcan 607', which is the story of the Black Buck bombing raids during the Falklands War. Given the age of the aircraft, and the limits of the technology of the time the flights the crews accomplished rank alongside such exploits as the Dambusters.

I don;t think I'll have got anywhere near my height in books this year, but last year had something like a three foot overspill, and I do have further than most to go (Being 5'11" and all) I think I can pronounce myself satisfied at what I have managed to read.
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    awake awake

A bit more on Hyperion.

Yup, I'm afraid I'm still going on about it...

Tonight I've been thinking about what the books call Farcaster Portals. Guess what they do. In the books they join bits of different worlds together end to end, which sounds like a wonderful folly to be able to build :) I had a think about the real world, and if I could do, which bits of it I would join together so you could walk from one to the next within just a few minutes.

I started with home, but Edinburgh is proving awkward because there is just so much of it. Thats on the back burner for a while. In Britain I'd have Badcall Bay, Chessil Beach, Birdlip and Avebury. Further afield would be Easter Island, A completely deserted sandy key somewhere warm, The North and South Poles (A very, very small section of each :), The Pyramids and Sphinx, and somewhere near an erupting (Hawiian type!!) volcano.

Back to the buisiness of books though... I've made a start on The Rise of Endymion, and is so far so good. Conspiricy in the New Vatican, Journeys through fantastic landscapes, and harsh moral choices facing the principle characters.
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    okay okay

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PreviousCollapse )
Additional...Collapse )
Current total - 140cm

26cm by end of Dec, should be doable if I can resist the siren call of Robin Hobbs Farseer books...

Currently working on Michael Cordy's The Venus Conspiracy, which I suspect may follow fairly standard Megalomaniac-corrupts-good-intentioned-work-to- his-own-evil-ends-in-bid-for-world-domination plot that most of Mr Cordy's thrillers take.
Also been falling for the charms of Waterstones 3-for-2 and Tescos Half-the- price-of-anywhere-else offers and adding even more new books to the pile waiting to be read so there's really no excuse not to make the target. Especially as I've finally, after 10 years trying, managed to convince a doctor that yes, it's actually a genuine probability I do have bipolar depression and I'm not lying or imagining things so I can see there's going to be a whole lot of time spent hanging about waiting rooms waiting to see specialists and all sorts. Good on two counts - for one I can get this evil illness dealt with by professionals who can fix it far beter than my ham-fisted amateur efforts at handling it on my own, and for two - loads of reading time!
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    pleased pleased

I'm never gonna make it...

I currently have 9 books half finished. I've read 85.7cm and I have 84.3cm to go. Looks like I'll not make it in time. I've got three months to read what I've read in 9 months. However I've read more this year than I have for a very long time.

I'm currently reading The devil wears prada by Lauren Weisberger I
empathise with the protaganist. Everyone has had one of those horrible demanding bosses who don't let you catch your breath before insisting you do some random and meaning less job for them. Based on one of the authour's ex bosses it's a kind of tragic comedy. Deffinately worth a read. It's now half price at waterstones (i'm really miffed i got it full price last thursday).

I also loved Marley and Me by john grogan. Very funny and touching story of the life of an utterly mad american labrador. It made me realise how sane my mother's dog is in comparison.
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Five inches left...

I've just updated my books list (here). My total is now 57 books and 65 inches, giving me just 5 inches left to read my goal of reading my height in books. I recently bought the last part of Stephen King's Dark Tower series and we have a bank holiday weekend coming up in which I plan to gorge myself on all seven parts, so I expect I'll have reached my target in a couple of weeks.

I've added some star ratings to my list. So far this year I've read eight books that I've given the top five stars:

Attention All Shipping by Charlie Connelly
Under World by Reginald Hill
Pictures Of Perfection by Reginald Hill
The Stand by Stephen King
Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
Angels Flight by Michael Connelly
Decider by Dick Francis

Overdue Update...

y excuse is... been in danger of being made redundant, getting new job, new job being manic headache inducing chaos (next time someone tells me I want a job that involves convincing long-time cops they have to change their ways...!!!), been turning flat upsaide down, inside out and generally turning it from long-term bachelor pad into somewhere a little more girl-friendly (it's only taken me a year to persuade Dave he wants to do it and get it happening, by Court male standards, that's nothing short of a miracle). And in all that, I needed the company of 'old friend' books so fell a bit behind on reading new stuff.

previously readCollapse )

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Current total - 118.5cm

Well on track to get the target height in a year, I think... Though am currently back on previously read books for a while as I want to read the second Duncton Wood trilogy, but it was so long ago I read the first one that I'm going back through that first. They're big books too so it's most annoying they don't count!

Well...I've done it...

...and then some more!

See the Full List!

Hmm...didn't even realise I had done it and in truth had been forgetting to update. Glad I have now. Not only is it interesting to see what types of book I have been going for and how that changes over the two years I have been doing this but it is rather pleasing (ok, I like records ;) to have two years recording one of my favourite past times.

So What Have I Read Recently?

Some very good books...Collapse )
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